2 - 6 September 2022

Ora-Ora is pleased to announce its first participation at Kiaf SEOUL in September 2022. This is the first occasion Ora-Ora has presented an exhibition in South Korea.


Ora-Ora’s debut at Kiaf SEOUL gives centre stage to artists Huang Dan, Peng Jian, Juri Markkula and Stephen Thorpe.


Each of these artists is an innovator; in Seoul, Ora-Ora’s ethos of academic enquiry allies with its future-focused embrace of the possibilities of tomorrow. The artists have all regularly exhibited in solo shows at Ora-Ora and were recently seen at Ora-Ora at Art Basel Hong Kong 2022. The selection underlines the international nature of Ora-Ora’s outlook: Huang Dan and Peng Jian are based in China, whilst Juri Markkula lives in Sweden, and Stephen Thorpe in the US.


Speaking of the first showing by the gallery in Seoul, CEO and co-founder of Ora-Ora Dr. Henrietta Tsui-Leung noted: “We’re delighted to be introducing this exciting, international group of artists to Seoul. Seoul is a fast growing and dynamic city with a unique history. It is now staking its claim to be a major hub in the Asian art world. We expect to receive as much inspiration and creative sparks from the city as we give it in return.” In an allusion to the combination of classical influence and innovation that the artists represent, she continued: “Thought-led innovation is at the heart of everything we do. This is an exciting time – it’s the variety, advancement and dynamism that gives art that edge that keeps it so relevant.”


CAFA-educated and Beijing-based Huang Dan is an artist primarily working in ink on paper, in the innovative spirit of classical ink painting. In her choice of subjects, including trees and horses, Huang Dan leans into a rhythm of constancy and simplicity, offering visual references to shan shui painting in her contours and forms. She is sparing in her use of colour, offering the viewer clean signature shades of a cold blue and hot orange, black and white. At Kiaf, she will also be presenting her Gold series, in which she pivots from the fluidity of ink to the solid reflection of gold leaf. The animals she portrays become a proxy for the vicissitudes of a changing universe, forging their own path, at once static and unpredictably varied.


Hangzhou-based Peng Jian harnesses ink to showcase the grid-like aesthetics of the classical Chinese architecture known as jiehua. Peng Jian is an artist who both recognizes the debts of the past, and the impetus of innovation and metamorphosis that the present brings. With that ethos in mind, he created an NFT series, titled Harmony, which was first shown with Ora-Ora at Art Basel Hong Kong 2021. Having worked with ink on paper throughout his career, he is now diversifying his practice to canvas, expanding his Harmony series into this medium. An artist of restless innovation, he remarked: “Whether it be ink on paper or animation, the expression is paramount. I’m always willing to try more ways to express my ideas.” At Kiaf, Ora-Ora will be presenting a range of the artist’s work, presenting a journey which mirrors both the personal narrative of Peng Jian and of Chinese art history itself.


Sweden-based Juri Markkula will be showing his RGB series at Kiaf. The artist creates each unique piece at his studio in Gotland, Sweden, a process which is at the nexus of the industrial and the chemical. Rhapsodies of the misty earth and crispy wood of his native Scandinavia, he surrounds and amplifies reality in pigmented polyvinyl polyurethane. Markkula presents elemental, sculptural images which are projections of the world at its most vibrant and real, extending beyond the natural into a new dimension.


Also being shown in Seoul will be paintings by Stephen Thorpe, professor of painting at the Savannah College of Art and Design in Atlanta, GA. Situated within an indoor setting yet surrounded by outdoor patterns, he presents corners and arcades in subtle allusion to ongoing psychological trauma and struggle. Drawing on psychoanalysis, sociology, folklore, mythology and the reality of myth, Thorpe’s intricately composed paintings are at once representational and abstract. Combining busy patterns, half-familiar objects and skewed perspectives juxtaposed with quiet, singular planes of colour, he channels an overload of stimulus via the sparks of literary and philosophical research.

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